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Comparison of Outcomes of Invasive or Conservative Management of Chronic Coronary Disease in Four Randomized Controlled Trials

Published:October 15, 2022DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.amjcard.2022.09.008
      Revascularization and medical therapy for chronic coronary disease have both evolved significantly over the last 50 years. A total of 4 contemporary randomized controlled trials— Clinical Outcomes Utilizing Revascularization and Aggressive drug Evaluation (COURAGE), Bypass Angioplasty Revascularization Investigation 2 Diabetes (BARI 2D), Fractional Flow Reserve versus Angiography for Multivessel Evaluation 2 (FAME 2), and International Study of Comparative Health Effectiveness with Medical and Invasive Approaches (ISCHEMIA)—have assessed the incremental benefit of revascularization when added to secondary prevention with intensive pharmacologic and lifestyle intervention. We reviewed these 4 seminal studies with the objective of marshaling evidence to better frame how these results should apply to clinical decision making. These studies differed in study design, end points, intensity of treatment, and revascularization techniques. Nevertheless, they all demonstrate similar rates of “hard” clinical events with invasive and conservative management, and varying degrees of benefit in angina-related quality of life with revascularization. In conclusion, although controversy persists concerning the role of revascularization because of differing interpretations of the clinical trial evidence, we contend that instead of being competing management strategies, invasive and conservative approaches are complementary.
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